A home of their own

On the sweltering afternoon of July 7, Lachesia Turner and her son went home – for the first time.

During a dedication ceremony on Reynolds Road in Eastern Henrico, Turner and her son, Corion, celebrated the completion of their new home – the third built locally as part of the Alternative Energy Rehabilitation Project.

The project was set forth by Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity (RMHFH), in partnership with Dominion and the Dominion Foundation, in an effort to restore and revamp homes to increase their environmental sustainability.

Previously, the Turners were living in an unsafe area; they frequently heard gunshots, and one day Corion found a gun in the bushes outside their apartment. In an attempt to improve both their lives, Lachesia Turner submitted an application through Habitat for Humanity for the Alternative Energy Rehabilitation Project.

Upon being selected to receive a new home, Turner had to commit to completing 350 hours of sweat equity. At the end of the seven-month building period, Turner had clocked more than 359 hours. “She truly embodies the willingness to partner,” said Lynda Barone, RMHFH Director of Family Services.

The project required a tremendous amount of time and effort. It began in December and was made possible thanks to more than 200 Dominion volunteers. A $70,000 grant and additional Habitat for Humanity funds were used to rehabilitate the home and ensure its environmental sustainability.

While the house may resemble an average suburban residence, it is actually anything but ordinary. It is equipped with solar hot water and radiant heat, which heats the home using special tubing and heated water below the wooden floors.

This process alone will save the Turners approximately 50 percent on energy bills. Low flush toilets have also been installed; according to the Federal Energy Management Program, upgrading to one of these water-conserving toilets can reduce the average person’s water use from 27,300 gallons to 12,500 gallons.

This home has also been insulated with increased R-value insulation. An R-value is the measurement of thermal resistance used in the construction industry: the higher the R-value, the more effective the building’s insulation. Better insulation translates to drastically reduced heating and cooling costs.

The laminate floors are environmentally friendly due to their durability and the fact that they have low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – harmful and unstable compounds that are released into the air over time. The paints used on the house also have low VOC emission levels, which will minimize these environmental toxins.

“Environmentally compatible processes like these are important because they set a good example for other home owners,” said Mary Doswell, Dominion’s Alternative Energy Solutions senior vice president.

When asked how Habitat for Humanity and Dominion got started with the Alternative Energy Rehabilitation Project, Doswell’s reasoning was very straightforward: “We love to do things in the community that will bring about long lasting, important results.”

A brand new, environmentally sustainable home certainly qualifies as “long lasting” and “important” to the Turner family.

“This is the best day ever,” said Lachesia. “It’s a huge change – like moving from someplace good to someplace better.”
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Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
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State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
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Norfolk man arrested at RIC after TSA catches him with gun

A Norfolk man was arrested at Richmond International Airport May 18 after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

A TSA officer detected the .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it passed through the security checkpoint X-ray machine. The handgun was loaded with 13 bullets.
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Police release photo of hoax bomb

Henrico Police have released a photo of the clock that resembled a bomb that led to the arrest of a Richmond woman in Shot Pump earlier this week.

The device, which the woman told police she purchased at a yard sale, was visible in her car at the Whole Foods at West Broad Village May 19, and a passerby called police, fearing it was a real bomb. Police responded as they would have had the device been real, they said, because they weren't sure if it was real or not.
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Henrico school buses with compliance issue to be fixed this summer


The 176 Henrico school buses that have been purchased since March 2011 will be fixed during the summer, Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Citizen. The bus manufacturers will retrofit the buses at no cost to the school division, he said.

The brake interlock device is required on all automatic transmission buses in Virginia that were purchased after March 2011, which is when the device was added to the state Board of Education's requirements for school buses. As many as 4,000 school buses in the state may be affected, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
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May 2017
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ChamberRVA's Henrico Business Council will honor Community Leader of the Year Dan Schmitt at its annual awards breakfast at the Westwood Club, 6200 West Club Ln., from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Schmitt, president and founder of RMC Events, has not only guided RMC since 1999 but also has led growth and revitalization efforts of the Glen Allen Youth Athletics Association. Due to limited space, advance registration for the breakfast is required. Tickets are $35 for ChamberRVA members and $45 for non-members. For details and registration, visit http://www.chamberrva.com or contact Geoff Zindren at 783-9316. Full text

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